Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I'm back ... sort of.

The baby is finally sleeping and even let me put him down, the girlchild is sleeping and the boychild is not napping but happily hanging out in his Diego undies in the playroom. It's been a rough couple of weeks here during which Owen "woke up" from his newborn haze, had his first growth spurt and began spewing more gas than the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park.

As for me, I finally gave up the fight in a few losing battles and won the prize of some serenity and a little extra sleep. And with a little extra rest comes some discernment in picking which battles to fight and fewer curse words. I keep telling myself that whatever I focus my energy on gets bigger. Right this moment, I'm thinking that none of my so-called battles are worth fighting.

The potty battle with a regressing 3 year old? Not worth it. At least he doesn't poop his pants anymore or scream and carry on when we suggest that he make an offering to the potty gods. And he just goes and changes himself when he pees his pants. Last week, he pulled the stunt of going to the bathroom and peeing his pants while he was in there ... a foot from the potty ... really. What can you do about that? Anyone?

The girlchild standing on chairs and in the bathtub, pulling out all the silverware, grabbing at everyone else's food and beverages? If you pay any attention to her in the midst of these feats, it makes it worse. She knows that she's bugging you and keeps doing it even after told to stop. Furthermore, we've learned that this is one instance where praising a child for good behavior actually backfires. Miss Fiona will repeat the unwanted behavior followed by the correct behavior to gain another round of applause. At this point, it's all about playful diversion and strong intervention if life and limb are really seriously in danger. It's a high threshold. I remember this phase with Danny - quick, filthy and bruised. We can't catch her, clean her or keep her 100 percent safe. Oh well. The more we let her climb and explore, the more she learns and the less she falls. We're just going to be under siege for the next six months or so and that's going to have to be okay.

The baby won't sleep anywhere but my arms or curled up next to me in bed? Forget about it. Owen finally got the hang of nursing lying down. I had been taking him to the rocking chair to nurse and either going back to bed with him or trying to get him in his crib. By the way, the crib is in our walk-in bedroom closet. He doesn't sleep well unless he's right next to me or far from me. I haven't figured out the actual distance he needs to be from me for successful sleep to happen. Last night, he wouldn't settle down in his crib after several failed attempts. Finally, I just took him to bed with me around 10:30. I just left the buffet open and he may or may not have eaten between then and 6:30 a.m. Today I carried and nursed him for hours while getting the kids' lunch, getting Fiona down for a nap and reading to and playing with Danny. He finally settled completely when I swaddled and held him for about 20 more minutes. I can't worry that I'm "spoiling him by doing any of this. My other two were held a lot, too, and even slept in our bed for a time. Neither of them continue to need these things. I firmly believe that you have to give a child what he needs until he doesn't need it anymore. Only my child can decide when he's ready to move on and, in my experience, that happens a lot quicker when you continue to accommodate his needs - experts be damned (that's a whole other post right there. I'll save that one for when I've had even more sleep!).

Some other battles I'm working on not fighting? Drink spilling (at least the floor is bathed in water once a day, right?), food throwing and dropping, not eating the food served at each meal (Danny ate his oatmeal for lunch along with his peanut butter sandwich), the indignant shrieks from a redirected girlchild, the ever expanding reach of the children's toys and I could go on.

I'd rather not yell or spend energy over these things. There'll be a time for cleaner kitchen floors, better manners and fewer pee stained clothes. For now, though, my sanity is just more important.

(By the way, cut me some slack if there are misspelled words, misplaced punctuation and poor grammer. I know that I'm an editor by trade but, seriously people, even feeding myself and personal hygiene is a challenge these days.)

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